International Centre for Pakistani Writing in English (ICPWE), Kinnaird College

This is spiderhome, nomad country,
Scuttling and hunting life from rock to rock,
Grey, watchful, devious, only they persist
In an opposition of fire and sand

Shahid Hosain “Concerning the Difficulties of Faith in Hot Climates,” First Voices, 1965

Any consideration of the creative use of English in Pakistan will naturally be preceded by the question: should English be used creatively in Pakistan? … [Young] poets … [it] is to them we must look for the creation of a Pakistani [English] idiom …. Taufiq Rafat, “Towards a Pakistani Idiom” (1969)

Taken all in all, the wind sits fair for our [Pakistani] poetry in English … for cultural survival in the world … and the innovative thrust into new frontiers ….  Shaista S. Sirajuddin, “Three Contemporary Poets: A Study of Their Use of Language” (1991)

On bitterly cold days when ice sales plummet, Ice-candy-man transforms himself into a birdman … foreshadowing the poetic impulse of his future … says: “Look! Little sparrow singing, ‘See? See? I free’ …” … Ice-candy-man talks. News and gossip flow off his glib tongue like a torrent. He reads Urdu newspapers … He can, when he applies himself, read the headlines in … the English Daily. Bapsi Sidhwa, “Chapter 4,” Cracking India (USA: 1991) – Ice Candy Man (UK: 1988)

…the nationalistic pitfall and non-literary criteria must be avoided in the criticism of any literature … criticism is essential … – to hazard a theory – … [There] has never been any encouragement of creative work in English in Pakistan … ordinary readers as well as critics, become aware as to where Pakistani literature written in English stands, and this awareness might shift more attention to [English] creative writing in Pakistan. Tariq Rahman, “Introduction” and “Conclusion,” A History of Pakistani Literature in English 1947-1988. (Oxford 2015; Vanguard 1991)

If the materiality of cultural criticism must now locate its idiom in the productive absence of alterity, it must similarly realign its relation to the figure of gender … [Histories] of colonialism and their concomitant narratives … must necessarily generate a discursive guilt … to the fact … that narration occurs to confirm the precariousness of power. Sara Suleri, “Chapter 1” The Rhetoric of English India (1992)



 The ICPWE at Kinnaird is first of its kind forum for the writers expressing in English, and, in that respect, are equally a part of the literary soul and ambiance of this city, Lahore!Patron-in-Chief – Rukhsana David (Principal)

 Creative writing gives immense freedom, and connects talented generations …  Our ICPWE preserves and catalogues the literary works of Pakistanis writing in English, which otherwise might remain unknown. Patron – Nikhat Khan (Vice Principal & Dean Postgraduate Studies)

 The poetic promise and power of being human is still instilled through the Humanities, Arts and Literature, and the Kinnaird ICPWE offers all efforts to fulfil this promise. – Director – Waseem Anwar (Professor of English)



Director – Waseem Anwar, Professor of English, and Director ICPWE at Kinnaird College, has also been Former Dean (Humanities) and Chair (English) at FCC and GC universities. He is a Fulbright awardee twice for doctoral and postdoctoral research. Past President of the Pak-US Alumni Network and the Fulbright Alumni Association, Gale Group American Scholar, recipient of Punjab Education “Salam Teacher Award – 2004” and Pakistan Higher Education Commission “Best Teacher Award – 2003,” Life Member of the SALA, and founding Editor in Chief of JELLS, his publications include amongst others, “Black” Women’s Dramatic Discourse (2009), South Asian Review special issue on Pakistani creative writing in English (2010), and the Routledge Handbook, Transcultural Humanities in South Asia (2022).

Archiving & Coordination Officer – Aleeha Ilyas is MA in Information Management (Library Science).

Volunteer (assisting the Director) – Faiqa Mansab‘s debut novel This House of Clay and Water is a Penguin 2017 publication. An MFA with a distinction from UK, with the “Best MFA Thesis Award,” she is also a British Chevening Scholar and “Writer in Residence” at The Writing Institute since 2017.



Founded in July 2014 and operative since August 2014, the International Centre for Pakistani Writing in English (ICPWE) is the first worldwide forum dedicated to literature produced in English by Pakistanis. Kinnaird College, ever cognizant of new areas of knowledge formation, seized the initiative when Mr. M. Athar Tahir, Rhodes Scholar and a prize-winning author, proposed the idea. In view of its promising prospects, the Principal Kinnaird College, Dr. Rukhsana David helped establish the ICPWE. Of course, this creation was necessitated by growing national attention and international recognition of Pakistani English writing. As we know that since independence, English, the language of government, judiciary, and education, continues to be adopted and adapted in Pakistan/South Asia by pioneering individuals for personal, literary as well as critical and theoretical expressions, unfortunately and ironically, a long period of this literary history in the region remains still largely un-addressed and un-documented. Additionally, despite a considerable body of work available in print form now, this literature is rarely studied. Academic institutions of higher learning sporadically held seminars or offered short courses, but even these initiatives were few and far between. In fact, not a single institution in the country, public or private, offers degrees focusing on Pakistani English writing. This was/ is largely due to unavailability of material in any one place, along with many other reasons.

For over hundred years Kinnaird College has honed the academic, creative and literary skills of many students. Bapsi Sidhwa the internationally recognized novelist, Sara Suleri the Pakistani American author, critic and Yale Professor, and Fawzia Afzal-Khan, poet, novelist, academic and administrator (being the Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’ Studies) at Montclair State University are among many renowned Kinnaird literary alumnae. Actually, the list is so long that it cannot be posted here. However, to be short, and as of now, the ICPWE is a forum for all Pakistani writers who employ English as a means of creative expression.



While our aims and goals are multiple, our vision is to accord Pakistani writing in English a consolidated national and international profile. Through this only global Centre of excellence, the ICPWE, our mission is to preserve, promote and propagate Pakistani literature in English.



The ICPWE plans to stay as a repository of all that is written in English by Pakistanis, whether at home or abroad. As such, it welcomes coordinating with various foreign and local Associations/ Organizations as well as Universities offering courses in or publishing academic journals dedicated to South Asian and Pakistani Literature. Collections and resources of such literature available in the country or globally are being located and hard and soft copies procured for the ICPWE library and archives. The ICPWE is soliciting archival material from a host of sources including living practitioners, private collectors, bibliophiles, public collections etc. The Centre also works on researching specialized courses in these literatures for higher degrees. In this context, we are trying to guide Pakistani and foreign students, scholars, academics, and researchers who want to learn more about South Asian/Pakistani literature/s.



The ICPWE follows policies related to a standardized Collection Development, Utilization of Resources, Fund Raising, Copyrights and Talent Promotion. These policies evolve based on discussions among its Advisory and Committee members and are for the betterment of the institution and the Centre.



Although we plan to go a long way and take even more steps, the ICPWE centrally initiates its journey of success under the conditions. A few highlights of the past achievements in this regard are:

  • Securing the pioneer Pakistani poet, Taufiq Rafat’s items, including books, valuable unpublished material, manuscripts, visual images, and objects from the Trustees of the Taufiq Rafat Foundation. Now part of ICPWE’s Taufiq Rafat Collection(TRC), his personal typewriter is also donated by the Foundation.
  • Professor Zulfikar Ghose of the University of Texas, USA, a distinguished poet, novelist, critic, and academic has contributed many signed, first editions. These rare collections, the first dating back 50 years, are not found anywhere else and are a part of his donated books (ZGC).
  • A donation of personal papers, notebooks, articles, letters, photographs of Kaleem Omar, another eminent Pakistani poet, are also placed under the Kaleem Omar Collection (KOC), consisting also of his donated books.
  • The Athar Tahir-Chowdhry Collection(MAT-CC) of books and archival material has diverse resources donated by the founding Director.

Besides this, several resources have been purchased and donations made by many other prominent Pakistani native or diaspora figures, authors and critics writing in English, like Bapsi Sidhwa, Muneeza Shamsie, Shahid Hosain, Shoaib bin Hassan, Tariq Rahman, Waqas A. Khwaja, Adrian Husain, Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Bina Shah, Nazneen Sheikh, Ilona Yusuf, Qaisra Sharaz, Shadab Zeest Hashmi, Javed Amir, Usman Yousaf, Usman Ali, to mention a few. While the list goes on, as per a rough estimate, the Centre’s collection now exceeds five hundred books.

ICPWE has also to its credit, international conferences, invited lectures, book inaugurals, launches, dramatic performances, award or prize giving ceremonies, etc. With interest in literature, criticism, art and humanities, the Centre involves in activities that ensure above all some aesthetic sublimity. In this regard, as the Centre participates in literary festivals and other outreach programs, it also and equality commits to publishing. The Centre contributed towards some quality publications, like the journals The ALEPH Review, The Indus Review, and A Wind Moves. The Centre also regulates its Newsletter and shelves some research theses and dissertations by students in the relevant areas of their interest. In this context, apart from some research guidance, the Centre plans to offer internships to the deserving.

So far, a number of national and international academicians and literary figures have visited the Centre, including delegations from regions and continents round the world (South Asia, Canada, Europe, USA, etc.). The Centre is active in establishing linkages with the local knowledge hubs, universities, councils as well as international schools like the University of Arizona, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of Iowa, University of York, and some others.



As per the latest, we address matters on regular basis and plan to move forward for changing the face, image, and professionalism of the ICPWE at Kinnaird College. Some of these provisions are as follow:

  1. Update the Kinnaird ICPWE Webpage as an evolving process.
  2. Rearrange the resources and focus their gradual digitization.
  3. Secure issuance of (selected and relevant) resources to the interested (faculty and researchers or others) for academic promotional purposes.
  4. Secure the ICPWE’s image building at international/ national levels through its Boards, and Committees. In this regard the Centre has already formed the Steering Committee, National Advisory Committee, International Advisory Board, and looks forward to interacting through the Friends of Kinnaird ICPWE (Worldwide Alumni & Other Associations/ Organizations), and Expected Collaborators and MOUs Signatories.
  5. Review and re-establish the ICPWE working with embassies (particularly the English-speaking countries) and their associate offices (British Council, the USEFP, The Canadian or Australian consulates etc.), who can help promote the usefulness of English in Pakistan.
  6. Promote the current trends in creative writing in English through Webinars entitled Discursus (a more logical and organized reasoning as compared to mere discursion growing digressive). The format of Discursus can be open to various layouts, like book launches, panels, symposia, seminars, colloquia, conferences, bilingual chats [like baithak], poetry recitation [or mushaira], meetups [kind of mel-milap], conversations [ordinary baat-cheet], point of view [holding a nuqta-e-nazar], critical viewpoint [debates over nuqta-e-tanqeed], etc.
  7. Develop coordination with local publishers and printers to enhance promotion of quality academic work at the ICPWE through its Newsletters /Reports, Magazine /Journals, Translated or Retranslated works (may be establish a subsidiary Translation Cell), etc.
  8. Introduce more incentives, rewards, awards, and prizes for the seasoned Pakistani writers writing in / for English (established authors as well as the new talent).
  9. Make the ICPWE self-sustainable and hire new staff as and when required.
  10. Involve teachers and students into the significance of “power of pen” type activities by making them learn creative writing skills (in classes or through workshops or other regular roundups), this being an attempt to foreground the invisible or unheard talent.



The ICPWE at Kinnaird has an International Advisory Board, a National Advisory Committee and a Steering Committee, whose members coordinate to develop its future vision and mission. With the help of our current team, the ICPWE Boards and Committees keep faith in accomplishing our goals identified by our Patrons and the Director, that is to accord the Centre a national and international profile, to preserve and promote Pakistani English literature, to enlighten the “…forum for … ambiance,” to celebrate “immense freedom,” and to fulfill the “promise” of empowering our future generations.

International Advisory Board

 Claire Chambers is Professor of Global Literature at the University of York, UK, where she teaches modern writing from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. She is the author or editor of several books, including Rivers of Ink: Selected Essays (2017) and Making Sense of Contemporary British Muslim Novels (2019). She was Editor-in-Chief for over a decade of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Waqas Khwaja, the Ellen Douglass Leyburn Professor of English at Agnes Scott College, is an internationally published and awarded poet, and teaches courses in Postcolonial literature, British Romanticism, Empire Narratives, Gothic literature, and Creative Writing. He is also a fellow of the International Writing Program, University of Iowa. His travelogue and his edited anthologies of Pakistani literature in translation, like Modern Poetry from Pakistan that showcases 44 Pakistani poets, are among many of his publications.

 Cara Cilano is Professor of English and Associate Dean (Undergrad Studies) at Michigan State University and has been researching Pakistani anglophone literatures for years. Author of three books on Pakistani literature, she has published several articles and book chapters. A Fulbright Lecturer in Belarus, she also served as lead PI on the US Department of State University Partnerships grant (2014-2016) to establish links for Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. While her areas of interest are Pakistan Studies, Postcolonial Studies and Cold War Studies, she also served as Secretary for the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.

 Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at Montclair State University, was Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She has published six books, including Siren Song: Understanding Pakistan through its Women Singers (2020), Lahore with Love: Growing Up With Girlfriends Pakistani Style (2010), and Cultural Imperialism: Genre and Ideology in the Indo-English Novel (1993). Afzal-Khan is a trained vocalist in North Indian Classical music, a published playwright and poet, and has worked for Ajoka Theatre of Pakistan. She was Fulbright-Hays Visiting-Scholar in Residence at Kinnaird College for Women and Forman Christian College during Spring 2016. Websitewww.fawziaafzalkhan.com

National Advisory Committee

 Muneeza Shamsie is the author of Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English, an Area Editor of the online Literary Encyclopaedia, Bibliographic Representative (Pakistan) The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. She serves on the International Advisory Board of The Journal of Postcolonial Writing and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. She was the regional chair (Eurasia) of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009-2010. She contributes regularly to Dawn and Newsweek Pakistan.

 Navid Shahzad is a Pakistani academic whose remarkable credentials as actor, writer, director and poet have been recognized nationally as well as overseas.  Awarded the President’s Pride of Performance for Literature, the Fatima Jinnah Award for Artistic Excellence and silver/gold medals by the Government of Punjab for her contribution to Pakistan Television; she is Distinguished Professor of Dramatic Arts at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Her latest venture is a book, Aslan’s Roar: Turkish Television and the Rise of the Muslim Hero. 

 Naveed Alam received his MFA from the University of Oregon. His first collection of poems, A Queen of No Ordinary Realms, won the Spokane Poetry Prize. He has translated Madho Lal Hussein, the 16th century Punjabi poet, into English (Verses of a Lowly Fakir, Penguin Classics), while his bilingual collection of Punjabi and English poems, The Others was published in 2020. His most recent, a translation of two contemporary Punjabi women poets: Flames Prefer to be Naked: Selected Poems of Nasreen Anjum Bhatti and Sara Shagufta (THAAP Publications, 2021) was supported by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship.

Faiqa Mansab  (See ICPWE Staff)

 Awais Khan is the award-winning author of No Honour (Orenda), a Woman and Home Best Book of 2021, and In the Company of Strangers (Simon and Schuster). He graduated from University of Western Ontario and Durham University and studied Creative Writing at Faber Academy in London. He has lectured on creative writing at Durham University, American University in Dubai, Canadian University in Dubai, USEF Pakistan, Kinnaird College, Hajvery University, while his work has appeared in The Aleph Review and many other journals. He has appeared on several media stations including BBC World Service.

 Mina Malik, a graduate of LUMS, Punjab University and Oxford, is a writer and poet based in Lahore. Her poetry and prose have appeared in the South Asian Review, Vallum and The Aleph Review, amongst other publications, and has had bylines in Scroll, Architectural Digest and a column with The Nation for five years. Mina has most recently co-founded Risala, a forthcoming magazine, and is working on her first novel.

Steering Committee

Urusa Fahim, PhD from CIIS in San Francisco is the Academic Dean for Humanities, Social Sciences and Law at Kinnaird College. Her research is in Integral Studies with a concentration in Learning and Change in Human Systems. Her areas of interest include qualitative research, personal growth, leadership development and T-Group facilitation.

Nadia Anjum has twenty-six years of teaching and administrative experience. She is currently the Head of MA/MPhil English Literature Programme & advanced research at Kinnaird College. She was awarded the “Star Laureate Award-South Asia Publication 2008” for her outstanding achievements in education. She won the Best University Teacher National Award, 2012-2013 and co-authored the book, Human Rights through Education (2005) which received the British Eltech Award. She also ran the Research Fellowship and partnership programme between Arizona State University and Kinnaird.

Rabia Zaheer is the Head of English Department at Kinnaird College for Women and a PhD scholar. Her research has been presented and published nationally, while her book chapter with Dr. Aamir Aziz was published by Brill in Modern Ecopoetry: Reading the Palimpsest of the More-Than-Human World in 2021.

Shama Salman Khaliq, a Convent and Kinnaird (KC) alumna, did her MA in English and Education from the Universities of Punjab (PU) and London respectively.  Teaching literature, linguistics, Communication and ELT at KC and involved with theatre (as President of the KC Najamuddin Dramatics Society), dance and travelling since 1975, she also taught in Ankara, Turkey, to then become Principal, Fatima Jinnah College, Chuna Mandi, Lahore in 2002.  Her accolades include Fatima Jinnah Medal by Punjab Government and Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by Pakistan Government, while she has been the Syndicate member at PU, Lahore College for Women University and University of Education.

Faiqa Mansab (see ICPWE Staff)

Waseem Anwar (See “Director” ICPWE)

93 – Jail Road, Lahore, 54000, Pakistan
Tel: 92-42-99203781-84 (Extensions 283 & 201)
Website URL: www.kinnaird.edu.pk/icpwe/